Air service could be changing again for Watertown

WATERTOWN, S.D.(KXLG)- The recent Essential Air Service proposal for the Watertown Regional airport from Denver Air Connection includes three scenarios: Keep things as they are now with DAC flights to Denver and Chicago; drop Chicago and have flights only to Denver or daily flights to both Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

According to Denver Air, the current Denver-Chicago arrangement would require about $6.3 million in federal subsidies; A Denver-only arrangement would require $5.8 million; and a Denver-Minneapolis would require a $5.5 million subsidy.

Minneapolis is a regional hub for Delta Airlines, while Chicago is a United hub. Denver Air Connection has ticketing and baggage agreements with United, allowing Watertown passengers to book online through United or travel sites such as Expedia and Travelocity. Watertown fliers can also check bags to their destination, assuming they continue to fly on United.

The Airport Board was told Denver Air is in talks with Delta for similar agreements.

No decisions on Watertown’s air service have been made. The Airport Board has until Feb. 24 to recommend one of the three Denver Air scenarios to the Department of Transportation, which makes the final determination. The Airport Board will present the proposals to the Watertown City Council before making a recommendation to the Department of Transportation.